- Route: Sierra
- Ride Year: 2017
- Hometown: Frisco, TX
- School Year: Junior
- Major: Neuroscience & Government
- Email: email@example.com
Hey y’all! My name is Austin Scheibmeir and I am currently a third-year, pre-med (potential pre-law) Neuroscience and Government double major at the incredible University of Texas at Austin. I am the brother of a Baylor bear and the son of a food innovator and an electrical engineer (or two Kansas State wildcats if we're sticking with the college theme here). Born in Plano, Texas, I consider it acceptable to overuse the word "y'all," be overtly prideful about Texas, and drink too much (read: not enough) sweet tea. In 2001, I moved from Plano to Dallas, Texas, and then three years later, enjoyed an awesome four-year stint in Louisville, Kentucky. Then, the summer before my seventh grade year, my family returned to north Texas, this time to the city of Frisco, and I stayed there until I graduated high school. Now, I am in the city of my namesake and I’ve become extremely attached to its spirit and beaming hubs of live music, excellent food, and utter weirdness.
One consistent theme throughout all of those moves was involvement in sports. The offspring of a sprinter and a long-distance runner, I guess it makes sense that I started running at the age of two. With running as my basis, I ventured into multiple other sports outside of cross country and track thanks to some nudging and guidance from my parents. I took on baseball, soccer, flag football, basketball, swimming, golf, wrestling (yeah, I know), and tennis. I now compete in triathlons, and when I get the chance, I love to play volleyball, racquetball, and ultimate Frisbee. Outside of sports, I love outdoor activities, like hiking, rock climbing, skiing, scuba diving, and skydiving. I kid you not, I live for the sun. These sports and activities definitely fostered a love of adventure, competition, and teamwork in me, three components central to my involvement in this organization.
Outside of all things athletic, I do love to travel, watch Survivor, eat Chick-fil-A, and challenge social norms. I study neuroscience because I’m 100% fascinated by the brain and the fact that it’s truly the last frontier of the human body we haven’t completely conquered. But what do I plan on doing with that degree? Well, I have at some point considered becoming a medical examiner, neuromarketer, healthcare lawyer, and even a counterterrorism intelligence analyst. In short, I have no idea. While I am not quite ready for life outside of college yet, I am BEYOND ready to take Texas 4000 head on, exploring the world on the wheels of a bicycle while advocating for a cause I am deeply fervent about.
Why I Ride
While I ride for many individuals that have experienced cancer in one way or another, these are the stories of my family members that have fought, or are fighting, this disease, and who have made this ride personal for me.
I ride for my grandmother, Sharon Hays, who is a breast cancer survivor. Her mother, my great-grandmother (who I never had the chance to meet), died from breast cancer when my mother was in fifth grade. This led my grandmother to be very diligent about getting annual check-ups, mammographies, and self-examinations. In May 2013, my grandma found a lump in her breast during a routine breast exam. She immediately saw her doctor, and upon receiving her mammography results, was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. But like the fighter she has always been, my grandma took treatment on full speed and had mastectomy surgery, chemotherapy treatment, and radiation therapy. My grandma has now been a breast cancer survivor since May 2014.
I ride for my cousin, Nathan Buss, who is a leukemia survivor. He served in the US Navy from 2003 to 2007, and about three years later in 2010, was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML). For 1.5 years, he managed through and responded well to treatments for CML. However, his CML mutated and became less responsive to treatment over time. In early 2012, after two rounds of chemotherapy, a radiation treatment, and having less than a 10% chance of survival, a stem cell transplant from his sister (my cousin Bonnie) was performed, and would eventually save his life. Recovery would take a couple of years, as his remission was, and still continues to be, defined by setbacks and step forwards. His setbacks included having trouble getting to “100% donor status” because of the aggressiveness of his cancer, dealing with graft vs. host disease, and even having issues with the VA. Regarding steps forward, he did finally get to 100% donor status. However, from time to time, cancer cells do pop up, causing panic of a full-blown relapse. Each time, he tries a new drug, gets back to 100%, and awaits the next remission curveball. Through his experience, he has found his purpose. He is back in college and working toward an eventual career in oncology. His cancer experience changed him on a fundamental level, and he feels that his perspective will help others going through this overwhelming process.
I ride for my grandmother, Alice Scheibmeir, who is a uterine and colon cancer survivor. On April 9th, 1981, at 35 years of age, she went in for surgery to repair endometriosis. During the surgery, surgeons found cancer wrapped around her ureter that had also metastasized to her pelvic wall and vaginal cuff. They were only able to remove half of the tumor, and after a battery of tests, the doctors determined that she had a rare form of uterine cancer called mesodermal sarcoma, and less than a 50% chance of survival. Almost immediately, she began receiving her 30 treatments of high-powered radiation, which eventually destroyed her tumor (and unfortunately most of her intestinal tract, since that radiation was much less advanced than it is today). From 1981 to 1987, she took oral chemotherapy. Then, six precancerous polyps were found on her colon, and in 2010, she underwent a partial colectomy, which removed approximately twelve inches of her colon. With several other medical issues not listed, it is safe to say that she is a medical miracle. Although doctors today have mentioned that several treatments could have been done differently, she is nothing but positive and is a firm believer that her attitude is what helped her (and continues to help her) fight cancer.
I ride for my grandfather, Howard Hildebrand, who is currently battling plasma cell cancer. On December 6th, 2014, while attending a parade with my grandmother, he pulled a lumbar vertebrae in his back and it collapsed. Five days later, he underwent surgery and had two vertebrae fused together and several bones filled with cement. After multiple exams and scans, the doctors believed osteoarthritis and osteoporosis had caused his bones to crack and fracture. Had the doctors not come to this conclusion, they could have checked my grandpa further and potentially discovered his cancer at that time. Yet, he continued the recovery process, and around late spring 2015, severe back pain developed. In August 2015, he rolled out of bed and broke the top of a previous hip replacement. Doctors determined that he didn’t need surgery, but while in the hospital, he began vomiting nonstop for a few days, causing him to lose 35 pounds. The hospital doctor finally put all the symptoms of severe back pain, broken bones, and sudden weight loss together, and after some testing, confirmed that my grandpa had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma. In fact, the cancer cells were 30% of his bones (and only 1-2% is needed to actually indicate that treatment is necessary). Therefore, my grandpa was given a very strong, potent chemotherapy drug as well as a steroid to help with his osteoarthritis. With help from a physical therapist, his condition has been improving. He went from being practically immobile to (as of March 2016) being able to drive a car and go out to eat with a cane. He has been on chemotherapy for six months currently and his lab counts look great. We are hoping for continued progress and healing.
Personally, I have been blessed not to see any of my family members pass away from this horrible disease. However, not everyone is as lucky. Therefore, I ride in memory of those who have passed away from any form of cancer. I ride for the children that never had the chance to ride bicycles or enjoy time outside of hospital rooms. I ride for those who are currently suffering with cancer, and find the motivation every day to put forth another fight. I ride for those who have survived, who showed resiliency and kicked cancer’s ass. I ride for those who unbeknownst to them will have their world rocked one day with crushing news that they are cancer’s next victim. That is, if we do not find a cure. So finally, I ride for the hope of a cure and the end of the words "untreatable" and “inoperable.” I want the money I raise to foster the research needed to create the cure for cancer.